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Resolution adopted by consensus by the Governing Council
at its 177th session (Geneva, 19th October 2005) *

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Senator Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/177/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 176th session (April 2005),

Taking account of the information provided by the source on 5 and 13 August 2005,

Recalling that Mr. Zardari was first arrested in November 1996, that a series of criminal cases and accountability cases have been brought against him, some of which have remained at a standstill, and that on 22 November 2004 Mr. Zardari was released on bail and has since been free to travel abroad,

Considering that, according to the source, Mr. Zardari suffered a heart attack in June 2005 and has since had two surgical operations in Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, the second on 31 August 2005; in the meantime, despite his lawyers' submission of medical certificates attesting to his present medical situation, first, a non-bailable arrest warrant against Mr. Zardari was ordered on 1 August 2005 to ensure his appearance in person during the proceedings and, on 6 September 2005, the Court reportedly began proceedings to declare Mr. Zardari an absconder,

Recalling that Mr. Zardari was tortured on 17 and 19 May 1999, as established by a judicial inquiry on 16 September 1999, and that the culprits have yet to be brought to justice; that in May 2004 Mr. Zardari filed a private complaint against several former and current officials relating to the injuries he had sustained; that according to the sources the judge in that case ordered the Sindh police to register a criminal case against those persons, that the police declined to do so, and that an application for contempt of court is pending against the responsible police officer,

  1. Remains deeply concerned that, more than six years after Mr. Zardari was tortured, the authorities have yet to take the most basic steps, such as an examination of the register with the names of the officers on duty at the time and place of his torture, to identify the culprits and bring them to trial;

  2. Can but consider that this failure lends weight to the longstanding contention by the source that the authorities are deliberately shielding the presumed perpetrators from prosecution;

  3. Recalls that, under the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (United Nations General Assembly resolution 3452 (XXX) of 9 December 1975), "if an investigation … establishes that an act of torture … appears to have been committed, criminal proceedings shall be instituted against the alleged offender or offenders … " and that "the victim shall be afforded redress and compensation";

  4. Urges therefore once again the competent authorities to ensure that an independent and effective investigation into the substantive leads in this case is carried out without further delay with a view to bringing the culprits to trial; and would greatly appreciate receiving information on any steps taken to this end;

  5. Remains unclear about the current stage of the criminal and accountability cases pending against Mr. Zardari; and reiterates its wish to receive detailed information on this point, including whether a timetable is in place for completion of the proceedings;

  6. Wishes to ascertain the grounds and applicable legal provisions underlying the reported recent court action to ensure Mr. Zardari's presence in the legal proceedings despite his, allegedly, fragile state of health;

  7. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent executive, parliamentary and judicial authorities and to the sources;

  8. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held during the 114th IPU Assembly (May 2006).

* The delegation of Pakistan took the floor to state that an investigation into Mr. Zardari's torture was under way, but that it had been prevented from making progress owing to his non-cooperation, that he was an absconder and therefore delaying proceedings.


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